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USA New York Court Ejects Gurdwara President

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    NY Court Ejects Gurdwara President

    By Anju Kaur, SikhNN staff writer, Washington Bureau



    The management dispute that resulted in the disturbing Youtube video of a brawl at the Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Sikh Center in New York ended yesterday with a court decision to disqualify the current president and name the person designated by the gurdwara’s selection committee as its rightful president.

    “…Gurmej Singh is the president of the (gurdwara) pursuant to the amended by-laws and shall assume the office of the presidency forthwith,” said Judge Augustus C. Agate, in his June 9 order in the New York Supreme Court in Queens County.

    The by-laws were changed in 2007 to establish a new governing structure in which the election committee named four sevadaars to serve as president for the next four years. Each president was to hold a one-year term, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

    According to court records, the 2010 president, Jarnail Singh, and others filed a lawsuit on Dec. 20 asking the court to extend his term until new elections could be held. The court issued a temporary restraining order, freezing any change in management or membership until the case was heard. Gurmej Singh, who was supposed to be the new president on Jan. 1, 2011, could not take office.

    On April 18, the judge denied Jarnail Singh’s request and lifted the restraining order, allowing the new president to take office and the selection committee to hold elections for the rest of the management team. But because the judge also denied naming Gurmej Singh as the rightful president until official documents were submitted to the court, Jarnail Singh refused to leave the position, said Mohinder Singh, one of the original founders and a member of the selection committee.

    “He was very much adamant, saying, “I’m not going to leave,”” Mohinder Singh told SikhNN.

    Jarnail Singh did not return phone calls for comment.

    Meanwhile, tensions between the two sides peaked on April 24 when Gurmej Singh’s supporters burst into the gurdwara, a couple of them seen with small weapons in their hands. But Jarnail Singh’s supporters were waiting for them with swords hidden under a white sheet, and with a camera ready to capture the melee.

    The cameraman was positioned beside the stage, focused on the entrance. He can be heard on the video saying, “Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait…” as the sheet is uncovered and swords and long metal musical instruments are taken out. The two parties clashed, hitting each other with swords and long metallic objects.

    What is not on the video are the police officers that were monitoring the situation outside the gurdwara, Mohinder Singh said. The incident lasted a few minutes. Eight people were arrested.

    The only video of the incident, which was in the hands of Jarnail Singh’s supporters, was released on Youtube. The reason for releasing the video on a public forum is unknown, but it has caused a great deal of embarrassment to Sikhs all over the world.

    As both sides parsed the video clip and blamed each other in television news media and online in Youtube clips, Sikh groups condemned everyone involved in the melee.

    “Regardless of the provocation, such disgraceful behavior violates not only the norms of civil society in general, but is deeply offensive to Sikh sentiment and ideals of thoughtful dialogue,” said Manohar Singh Grewal, chairman of the World Sikh Council – America Region, a coalition of 47 gurdwaras and organizations, in a May 17 statement.

    On May 9, Santokh Badesha, a trustee at the Gurdwara of Rochester, submitted news articles of the incident as evidence in its ongoing lawsuit that has effectively bans anyone from wearing Kirpans inside the gurdwara without permission.

    In his affidavit submitted to the New York Supreme Court in Monroe County, he asked that depositions be kept confidential because his personal safety will be at risk.

    “What these and other news reports demonstrate is that, notwithstanding that the Sikh faith is one of peace, Sikh religious fervor, when incited, can and does on occasion result in violence and personal injury,” he says in his affidavit.

    While criminal cases have been brought against seven charged in the Lubana gurdwara incident, the civil case regarding the management dispute perhaps came to a conclusion yesterday.

    A peaceful transition remains to be seen.

    http://www.sikhnn.com/headlines/1448/ny-court-ejects-gurdwara-president
     

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  3. Mai Harinder Kaur

    Mai Harinder Kaur
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    What can I say except beyond disgraceful?!

    And embarrassing :blushhh: :blushh:!

    And damaging. :angryyoungsingh:
     
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  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    That is the only point, the one and only point, that i wish to take from this melee. We have to stop this. No one is right and no one is wrong until we do.
     
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